Dish has lost two more local channels due to a fee fight and this dispute could stop the satcaster’s subscribers from watching Sunday’s Super Bowl.
The two channels, which are owned by Waterman Broadcasting, are: WVIR=TV, the NBC affiliate in Charlottesville, Virginia, and WBBH-TV, the NBC affiliate serving the Fort Myers/Naples, Florida area.
The stations have been blacked out on Dish since Wednesday night when the companies could not agree on a new carriage pact. The companies are battling over how much Dish should pay to carry Waterman’s signals.
NBC is broadcasting Sunday’s Super Bowl. If Dish and Waterman do not reach a deal by then, Dish subscribers in those markets would be unable to watch the game via their satellite systems. They could still watch it using an antenna, or the NBCSports.com web site or NBC app which will stream the game for free
“We have been trying to get to an agreement for some time now, and we share your disappointment that it hasn’t happened,” Waterman says in a statement posted at the stations’ web sites. “While we continue to negotiate with DISH, we need to clear up some misrepresentations and outright falsehoods DISH is telling its customers. We are asking for a rate increase – that’s true. But we’re asking for a rate increase that is competitive with what other carriers are already paying. DISH made $1.5 billion – yes, billion with a B – last year. Six million in profit per day. They tend to use those limitless resources to try to bully small broadcasters into bad deals.”
“Waterman is demanding an unreasonable rate increase, which is double what we currently pay for their channels. DISH offered to match the rates paid by other pay-TV providers; however, they refused this offer. The fact is, only Waterman Broadcasting can choose to remove their content. We offered to extend the contract so viewers would not be impact, but Waterman refused.”
Dish has also been without four local channels owned by Lockwood Broadcasting since January 23 due to a separate fee fight.
The Lockwood stations are: KAKE-TV, the ABC affiliate in Wichita, Kansas; WHDF-TV, the CW affiliate in Florence, Alabama; WCWG-TV, the CW station in Lexington, North Carolina; and KTEN-TV, the NBC affiliate in Ada, Oklahoma (the station also offers feeds of ABC and the CW in the Ada area).
== Phillip Swann